Campeche is usually overlooked on Mexico trips. Most people don’t venture out of Quintana Roo and Yucatan, but it actually is very worth it to visit this neighboring province. Campeche is located at the Gulf of Mexico, so the water may not be as clear as in other locations in Mexico, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit. We loved the colorful, colonial town, which is not overrun by crowds. On top of that, Campeche still is very affordable, so make sure to visit before everybody discovers this gem!
Where to stay
Because Campeche is not very touristy yet, I didn’t love the choice of hotels. Most hotels seemed a bit run down and in need of a renovation. We therefore booked an Airbnb, called Casa Palma. Casa Palma is located in a quiet area in the “suburbs” of Campeche. We loved how modern, spacious and comfortable it was. There was a private parking spot in the garden. It was only a five minute drive to the historical center of Campeche, where we never had any issues with finding a parking spot. To stay here you absolutely need a car, as public transport is limited.
Historical city center of Campeche
The main sight in Campeche is the historical city center. The layout of Campeche is like New York, in blocks, so you can easily cross the whole city center, without missing anything 😉 Calle 59 is the main pedestrian street. Until 11AM there are no terraces in the streets, so perfect time to take pictures. The light is more beautiful just before sunset, it never seems to be really busy, so this is another good time to take your pics.
The historical center is surrounded by a wall, which you can climb in different locations. We climbed Baluarte de la Soledad, at the Museum of Mayan Architecture. The entrance fee was only a few euros, the museum explains the history of Campeche and you get stunning views over the city. In the museum you can find an interesting jade mask: the Mask of Calakmul.
I also loved the Plaza de la Independencia, where you will find the Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Inmaculada Concepción. Because we visited at the end of November, the Christmas display was already up, which was so charming! The cathedral has a lovely little garden, definitely check it out.
Campeche has its own malecon, where you can watch the sunset. Unfortunately, there was no sunset when we visited, so no pretty pics!
Even though we absolutely loved the colorful streets of Campeche, the downside is that its surroundings are less interesting than Yucatan and Quintana Roo. There are no great public beaches, just a few beachclubs kilometers out of town. We wanted to visit a beach, but the beach was completely desolated an it didn’t feel right. Also, no cenotes near Campeche, so less options to cool down. The ruins of Calakmul are located in the Campeche province, but they are quite a hassle to get to and not suitable for a daytrip. They seemed amazing though, and if we would have had more time I would definitely have went for it!
Food in Campeche is relatively affordable and of good value. Most restaurants are located in Calle 59. Most waiters will try to flag you down, which gives you the opportunity to check out some menus. We loved our healthy lunch at Luan, in a stunning colonial interior. We had a fancy dinner at Aduana 59, which totally reminded me of the hip restaurants in Cartagena, Colombia. See pictures below. We did have some food in other restaurants, but nothing we would especially recommend.